Lancaster District Local Centres Study Lancaster City Council - July 2017

 
Lancaster District Local Centres Study Lancaster City Council - July 2017
Lancaster District Local Centres
Study

Lancaster City Council

July 2017
Lancaster District Local Centres Study Lancaster City Council - July 2017
Contents

1.0    Introduction ......................................................................................................... 2

2.0    Planning Policy Context ......................................................................................... 6

3.0    Local Centre Healthchecks .................................................................................... 16

4.0    Distribution and Provision of Facilities Within Local Centres...................................... 35

5.0    Assessment of Proposed Local Centres ................................................................... 38

6.0    Walk Time Catchments ......................................................................................... 64

7.0    Summary and Recommendations........................................................................... 73

Glossary of Terms......................................................................................................... 80

Appendices

Appendix 1 – Study Area Zones
Appendix 2 – Distribution of Retail Hierarchy
Appendix 3 – Distribution of Convenience Goods Retailers
Appendix 4 – Local Centre Health Checks
Appendix 5 – Overview of Walk Time Catchments
Appendix 6 – Individual Walk Time Catchment Plans
Appendix 7 – Social Demographic Statistics
Appendix 8 – Updated Capacity Model
Appendix 9 – WYG Defined ‘Urban Areas’

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Lancaster District Local Centres Study Lancaster City Council - July 2017
1.0 Introduction

        Objectives of the Study
1.01    WYG Planning (hereafter referred to as ‘WYG’) was commissioned by Lancaster City Council
        (‘the Council’) to undertake a review of the defined local centres within Lancaster and provide
        strategic planning advice regarding the proposed new local centres within the strategic policy
        allocations of Bailrigg Garden Village, East Lancaster and North Lancaster.

1.02    Local centres are currently defined through the Lancaster Core Strategy, under Policy ER 4.
        There are currently nine designated local centres within the Core Strategy. Paragraph 5.27 of
        the Core Strategy describes these as offering basic local shops including a Post Office, a
        general store, a chemist and other specialist shops. As the Core Strategy states, these centres
        remain important in providing sustainable shopping facilities for local communities and that
        their continued vitality is important. We cover the relevant policies in more detail in Section
        2.0 below.

1.03    Once adopted, Policy TC1 of the emerging Strategic Policies & Land Allocations Development
        Plan Document (DPD) will redefine the existing retail hierarchy for the Lancaster District.
        Policy TC1 proposes 16 local centres, split across urban and rural parts of the district and
        defined by their proximity to both Lancaster and Morecambe. Many of the local centres
        defined under Policy ER 4 of the core strategy remain under Policy TC1.

1.04    Many local centres provide access to shops but are also the ‘heart’ of the local community in
        some instances, with community halls and libraries. Due to the substantially different
        demographics of the populations surrounding the currently defined local centres, each centre
        is qualitatively different and have been structured and designed to meet specific needs. There
        are notably different offers in each centre, matching the specific requirements of residents in
        each of the catchments.

1.05    Shopping and leisure provision within Lancaster is largely concentrated within the centres of
        Lancaster and Morecambe and to a lesser extent, Carnforth. These retail centres are
        characterised by a range of local and national retailers that predominately serve the local
        area.

1.06    Outside of these centres, additional retail facilities are offered within the smaller local centres.
        Lancaster has a network of local centres, which act as a focus for local life and successful
        communities. They provide shops, services and facilities to meet local day to day needs as

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Lancaster District Local Centres Study Lancaster City Council - July 2017
well as providing opportunities for growth, investment and local employment close to where
        people live and in some cases, work.

1.07    The Council is committed to maintaining the vitality and viability of appropriate local centres
        for the benefit of those who live, work and visit Lancaster and Morecambe. Local centres
        should be the focus for retail development and community uses to meet the requirements of
        the local community. By ensuring an appropriate balance of uses is supported, the role of
        Local Centres will be maintained and strengthened.

1.08    The facilities contained within local centres provide an important resource to the community
        they serve. In many cases, they provide a heart to a community and are situated close to
        residential accommodation thereby ensuring all residents, regardless of access to a car, can
        access facilities locally. They reduce the need to travel for everyday items and are important
        providers for those members of the community that are less mobile.

1.09    However, it should be noted that shopping patterns have changed significantly over the years
        with people forgoing daily food shopping in favour of the weekly ‘big’ shop at major
        supermarkets. The supermarkets themselves reacted by growing bigger and by extending the
        range of goods they sell to compete not just with local butchers, bakers, newsagents etc, but
        also against service traders such as Post Offices, banks, pharmacies and opticians. Recent
        trends appear to show that the move towards more and larger superstores may be over with
        a marked shift towards more local convenience shopping (i.e. C-Stores and Metro formats).

1.10    This is not turning back time to retailing patterns of old, with old local centres automatically
        enjoying a renaissance, rather there are demands for the convenience of big store shopping in
        more local locations. This is leading to pressure for new ‘large local’ convenience stores with
        dedicated or ample local parking such as more modern Co-Operative stores or Tesco Express
        and Sainsbury’s Local. With people often now driving to local stores, sometimes as part of
        linked trips instead of walking, centres not located on main roads or offering adequate parking
        are often put at a significant disadvantage.

1.11    There is also marked growth in the discounters’ segment of the food market with companies
        such as Aldi and Lidl expanding rapidly. Whilst these companies operate stores larger than can
        comfortably be accommodated in local centres they often choose to locate in suburban
        locations presenting challenges to established centres.

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Lancaster District Local Centres Study Lancaster City Council - July 2017
1.12    Considering the above, WYG has been commissioned to assess the existing local centres as
        defined in the emerging local plan and establish their current ‘health’. This has then enabled a
        review of whether there are any key deficiencies in provision and where the Council needs to
        be focussing on potentially defining new local centres to serve populations not currently in
        easy access to local retail and service provision. In addition to the existing local centres, as
        part of our site visits we have also assessed other areas which contain an accumulation of
        main town centre uses and have a future potential as new designated centres.

        The Brief
1.13    A summary of the brief as provided by Lancaster Council is provided below.

        ▪       Assess all existing local centres as identified in the emerging local plan, and prepare a
                health check for each of the centres providing an overview of the vitality and viability of
                each centre;

        ▪       Assess all proposed local centres in South Lancaster (Bailrigg Garden Village), East
                Lancaster and North Lancaster and provide recommendations on the proposed scale
                and role of the proposed centres;

        ▪       Provide an overview of centre provision across the district, considering both existing and
                proposed centres, and reflect on whether there are any deficiencies and whether there
                is sufficient provision to meet the needs and demands of the significant housing and
                economic growth which is proposed in the draft plan;

        ▪       Provide an overview of the proposed retail growth in the draft plan, considering both
                the quantitative and qualitative issues which surround the comparison retail growth
                proposed at Lancaster Canal Corridor and the former Frontierland site. A similar
                approach should be taken towards the delivery of proposed convenience retailing
                growth to the South of Lancaster; and

        ▪       Provide a recommendation over the future needs for a local impact threshold to be
                provided as part of the emerging local plan (rather than the current default position of
                the national threshold).

        Structure of Report
1.14    Our report is structured as follows:

        ▪     Section 2.0 - Planning Policy Context
        ▪     Section 3.0 – Local Centre Healthchecks
        ▪     Section 4.0 – Distribution and Provision of Facilities in Local Centres

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Lancaster District Local Centres Study Lancaster City Council - July 2017
▪     Section 5.0 – Assessment of Proposed Local Centres
        ▪     Section 6.0 – Analysis of Walk Time Catchments
        ▪     Section 7.0 - Summary and Recommendations

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Lancaster District Local Centres Study Lancaster City Council - July 2017
2.0 Planning Policy Context

        National Planning Policy Framework
2.01    The National Planning Policy Framework was published in March 2012. The NPPF replaced all
        former Planning Policy Statements, Planning Policy Guidance Notes and some Circulars in a
        single consolidated document.

2.02    The main theme of the NPPF is that there should be ‘a presumption in favour of sustainable
        development’. In terms of plan-making, it is stated that local planning authorities should
        positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area, with an emphasis
        on Local Plans having sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change.

2.03    In terms of economic development, it is set out within the NPPF’s core principles that planning
        should proactively drive and support economic development to deliver the homes, business
        and industrial units, infrastructure and thriving local places that the country needs. Every
        effort should be made to objectively identify and then meet the business and other
        development needs of an area, with positive responses made to wider opportunities for
        growth.

2.04    The NPPF stresses the Government’s commitment to securing economic growth to create jobs
        and prosperity, with paragraph 17 stating that the planning system should do everything it
        can to support sustainable economic growth.

2.05    Paragraph 19 indicates that planning should operate to encourage and not to act as an
        impediment to sustainable growth, and that significant weight should be placed on the need
        to support economic growth through the planning system. The NPPF seeks to ensure that
        local planning authorities plan proactively to meet the development needs of business and
        support an economy fit for the 21st century.

2.06    The NPPF still recognises the need to promote the vitality and viability of towns and cities
        through the promotion of competition and growth management during the plan period.
        Paragraph 23 of the NPPF provides guidance for local planning authorities in drawing up Local
        Plans, it indicates that they should:

        ▪     recognise town centres as the heart of their communities and pursue policies to support
              their vitality and viability;

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Lancaster District Local Centres Study Lancaster City Council - July 2017
▪     define a network and hierarchy of centres that is resilient to anticipated future economic
              changes;

        ▪     define the extent of town centres and primary shopping areas, based on a clear definition
              of primary and secondary frontages in designated centres, and set policies that make clear
              which uses will be permitted in such locations;

        ▪     promote competitive town centres that provide customer choice and a diverse retail offer
              and which reflect the individuality of town centres;

        ▪     retain and enhance existing markets and, where appropriate, re-introduce or create new
              ones, ensuring that markets remain attractive and competitive;

        ▪     allocate a range of suitable sites to meet the scale and type of retail, leisure, commercial,
              office, tourism, cultural, community and residential development needed in town centre. It
              is important that needs for retail, leisure, office and other main town centre uses are met
              in full and are not compromised by limited site availability. Local planning authorities
              should therefore undertake an assessment of the need to expand town centres to ensure
              a sufficient supply of suitable sites;

        ▪     allocate appropriate edge of centre sites for main town centre uses that are well
              connected to the town centre where suitable and viable town centre sites are not
              available. If sufficient edge of centre sites cannot be identified, set policies for meeting
              the identified needs in other accessible locations that are well connected to the town
              centre;

        ▪     set policies for the consideration of proposals for main town centre uses which cannot be
              accommodated in or adjacent to town centres;

        ▪     recognise that residential development can play an important role in ensuring the vitality
              of centres and set out policies to encourage residential development on appropriate sites;
              and

        ▪     where town centres are in decline, local planning authorities should plan positively for
              their future to encourage economic activity.

2.07    Paragraph 23 also indicates that needs for retail, leisure, office and other main town centre
        uses should be met in full and should not be compromised by limited site availability.

2.08    Paragraph 24 requires local planning authorities to adopt a sequential approach to the
        consideration of planning applications for main town centre uses that are not in an existing
        centre or in accordance with an up-to-date Local Plan. The following paragraph 25 indicates

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that that the sequential approach should not apply to applications for small scale rural offices
        or other small scale development.

2.09    Paragraph 26 indicates that local planning authorities should require an impact assessment for
        retail, leisure and office development outside of town centres which are not in accordance
        with an up-to-date Local Plan and if the development is over a proportionate, locally set
        threshold. Where there is no locally defined threshold, the default threshold will be 2,500
        sq.m.

2.10    Paragraph 27 indicates that where an application fails to satisfy the sequential test or is likely
        to have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of a town centre or on
        existing, planned, committed investment in a centre it should be refused.

2.11    The NPPF also recognises that retail activity should still, where possible, be focused in existing
        town centres. Retail and leisure proposals which cannot be accommodated in or adjacent to
        the town centre must satisfy a dual impact test and the sequential test.

        Ensuring the Vitality of Town Centres Planning Practice Guidance
2.12    ‘Ensuring the Vitality of Town Centres’ National Planning Practice Guidance was published in
        March 2014. It provides a concise summation of how retail and main town centre planning
        policy is to be applied in practice. The objectives of the Practice Guidance remain comparable
        with those of its predecessor, with there being a stated requirement for local planning
        authorities to plan positively and support town centres to generate local employment, promote
        competition within and between town centres, and create attractive and diverse places for
        users.

2.13    The Practice Guidance requires local planning authorities to fully assess and plan to meet
        needs for main town centre uses through the adoption of a ‘town centre first’ approach.
        Paragraphs 002 and 003 confirm that this should be delivered through a positive vision or
        strategy which is communicated through the development plan. The strategy should be
        facilitated through active engagement with the private sector and other interested
        organisations (including Portas Pilot organisations, Town Teams and so on). Any strategy
        should be based on evidence which clarifies the current state of town centres and
        opportunities to meet development needs and support centres’ vitality and viability.

2.14    Such strategies should seek to address the following matters:

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▪     the appropriate and realistic role, function and hierarchy of town centres in the area of
              over the plan period, including an audit of the vitality and viability of existing town centres
              and their ability to accommodate new development;
        ▪     consideration of the vision for the future of each town centre and the most appropriate
              mix of uses;
        ▪     the assessment of the scale of development that a town centre can accommodate;
        ▪     the timeframe for new retail floorspace to be delivered;
        ▪     what other complementary strategies are necessary or appropriate to enhance the town
              centre to deliver the vision in the future; and
        ▪     the consideration of the enhancement of car parking provision including charging and
              enforcement mechanisms.

2.15    Paragraph 005 of the Practice Guidance identifies a series of key indicators which are of
        relevance in assessing the health of a centre over time. Paragraph 005 goes on to state that
        not all successful town centre regeneration initiatives have been retail led or focused on
        substantial new development, but have instead involved improvements such as renewed
        public realm, parking, and accessibility and other partnership mechanisms.

2.16    Paragraph 009 reaffirms the town centre first policy in the form of the sequential test, which
        requires local planning authorities to undertake an assessment of candidate sites’ availability,
        suitability and viability when preparing their local plan. Such an assessment should also
        consider the scale of future needs and the type of land required to accommodate main town
        centre uses.

        Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment Planning
        Practice Guidance
2.17    The Government has issued further Practice Guidance to provide specific instruction in respect
        of the undertaking of needs assessments (including those for main town centre uses).
        Paragraph 032 of the Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessments Planning
        Practice Guidance states that plan makers should consider forecasts of quantitative and
        qualitative need based on a range of data which is current and robust. Local planning
        authorities will need to take account of business cycles and make use of forecasts and surveys
        to assess employment land requirements.

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Relaxation of Permitted Development Rights
2.18    At a national level, recent changes to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted
        Development) Order 1995 have sought to support the diversification and vitality of town
        centres. The changes follow the Portas Report recommendation to make it easier to change
        surplus space to provide for the effective re-use of buildings.

2.19    The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015
        came into force on 15 April 2015. The Order acts, inter alia, to consolidate and replace the
        Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order 1995) and to provide
        additional permitted development rights. It should be noted that conditions and restrictions
        apply, and that prior approval is generally required to implement development. The new
        rights include:

        ▪     a permitted change of use from retail/financial services (Class A1/A2), betting offices and
              pay day loans shops to residential (Class C3);
        ▪     a permitted change of use from amusement arcade/casino (sui generis use) to residential
              use (Class C3);
        ▪     a permitted change from retail (Class A1) to financial services (Class A2);
        ▪     a permitted change from retail/financial services (Class A1/A2) to food and drink (Class
              A3);
        ▪     a permitted change from retail/financial services (Class A1/A2), betting offices, pay day
              loan shops and casinos to assembly and leisure uses (Class D2);
        ▪     an extension of the temporary permitted development rights introduced in May 2013 for
              extensions to shops, offices, industrial and warehouse buildings to support business
              expansion and the economy so they apply permanently;
        ▪     the erection of click and collect facilities within the cartilage of a retail shop; and
        ▪     modifications to the size of an existing retail shop loading bay.

2.20    The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment)
        Order 2016 subsequently came into force on 6 April 2016. The Amendment provides for the
        change of use of launderettes to residential uses as permitted development, and acts to make
        permanent previous temporary provisions which permit the change of use from office to
        residential use. A condition allowing the local planning authority to consider noise impacts on
        the intended occupants of the development from premises in commercial use is included in
        the extended right.

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2.21    The intended consequence of the above measure is to secure the redevelopment and reuse of
        premises. It is considered that the relaxation in respect of changes of use to residential are
        more likely to encourage re-use of offices in larger metropolitan areas which may benefit from
        a greater supply of office buildings.

        Lancaster Council Development Plan Policy
2.22    The adopted development plan for Lancaster City comprises:

        ▪     Lancaster District Local Plan (adopted April 2004);
        ▪     Lancaster Core Strategy (adopted July 2008);
        ▪     Lancaster Development Management DPD (adopted December 2014); and
        ▪     Morecambe Area Action Plan (adopted December 2014).

        Lancaster District Local Plan
2.23    Although Chapter 3 of the Local Plan relates to the local economy and the preamble to this
        chapter states that it is the aim of the Council to continue the successful development of
        tourism and leisure in the District, most policies relating to leisure development have been
        superseded by the policies contained within the Core Strategy, Development Management
        DPD and Morecambe AAP.

        Lancaster Core Strategy
2.24    The Core Strategy, which was adopted in 2008, sets out a spatial vision for the District up to
        2021. The Strategy identifies suitable areas for development and regeneration, as well as
        those areas which should be conserved. The Core Strategy sets out broad locations for land
        use, with site specific areas for development or protection to be identified in the Land
        Allocations Development Plan Document.

2.25    The Core Strategy sets out a vision for the District to be a sustainable self-contained and
        varied group of communities comprising:

        ▪     Morecambe and Heysham – A confident community with a regenerated living, working
              and leisure environment;

        ▪     Lancaster – A prosperous historic city with a thriving knowledge economy;

        ▪     Carnforth – A successful market town and service centre for North Lancashire and South
              Cumbria; and

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▪     A conserved, enhanced and diversified coast and countryside with a network of vibrant
              rural communities.

2.26    Policy ER 4 seeks to maintain the vitality and viability of the town centres in the District. The
        policy seeks to improve the roles of Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth as tourist and visitor
        destinations.

        Development Management DPD
2.27    The Development Management DPD sets out policies to be used in the determination of
        planning applications. It is the Council’s intention that once a Land Allocations DPD has been
        adopted, this documents, alongside the Development Management DPD and Morecambe AAP,
        will replace the Core Strategy, which will be withdrawn as a material planning consideration.

2.28    Policy DM1: Town Centre Development seeks to direct proposals for main town centre uses to
        defined town centres. The policy states that any proposals relating to leisure facilities and
        hotel development will be expected to adhere to the requirements of the sequential test. An
        interim town centre designation plan for Lancaster city centre is set out at Appendix G of the
        Development Management DPD for use in the application of this policy.

2.29    Policy DM2 of the Development Management DPD relates to retail frontages. The document
        sets out retail frontages for Lancaster and Carnforth, with the retail frontages for Morecambe
        to be addressed by the Morecambe AAP. The policy states that proposals with primary retail
        frontages which involve the change of use of ground floor premises to non-A1 uses will only
        be permitted where three criteria are met. These criteria seek to maintain the vitality and
        viability of Lancaster and Carnforth by maintaining a concentration of retail uses and activity
        within the primary retail frontage. The policy states that within the secondary retail frontages,
        the Council will seek to retain an appropriate mix of ‘A’ Class uses whilst permitting a limited
        number of non-A1 uses. However, for proposals for a change of use of ground floor premises
        to non-A1 uses to be permitted, several criteria will need to be met.

2.30    The council has recently consulted on a revised draft Development Management DPD (27 th
        January – 24th March 2017). In the emerging document, Policy DM1 becomes DM14 and Policy
        DM2 becomes Policy DM15. The policies themselves however remain unchanged.

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Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD 2017
2.31    The Strategic Policies & Land Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) will direct where
        homes, employment land, services and future investment will go in the district between 2011-
        2031. During 2015, the Council consulted on a series of strategic options for growth to inform
        the preparation of the Land Allocations DPD.

2.32    In January 2017, the Council published the Consultation Draft of the document which was
        consulted on for eight weeks. Once adopted, the Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD
        and accompanying Policies Map will replace all site-specific guidance contained within the
        Strike-Through Edition of the Lancaster District Local Plan 1996 – 2016 (which was adopted in
        2004 and reviewed in 2008).

2.33    The document proposes a new Retail hierarchy for Lancaster District which is set out under
        Policy TC1 and replaces that defined by Policy ER 4 of the Core Strategy. The proposed retail
        hierarchy remains largely unchanged to the existing hierarchy, with the introduction of further
        Local Centres. The emerging hierarchy is as follows:

        ▪     Sub-Regional Centre – Lancaster (TC1.1)
        ▪     District & Regeneration Priority Area – Morecambe (TC1.2)
        ▪     District & Key Service Centre – Carnforth (TC1.3)
        ▪     Urban Local Centres (Morecambe)
                  -   Bare (TC1.4)
                  -   Torrisholme (TC1.5)
                  -   Westgate (TC1.6)
                  -   West End (TC1.7)
        ▪     Urban Local Centres (Lancaster)
                  -   Bowerham (TC1.8)
                  -   Scotforth (TC1.9)
                  -   Lancaster Uni (TC1.10)
                  -   Ridge (TC1.11)
                  -   Skerton (TC1.12)
        ▪     Urban Local Centres (Heysham)
                  -   Heysham Road (TC1.13)
                  -   Heysham Village (TC1.14)
        ▪     Rural Local Centres
                  -   Caton (TC1.15)

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-   Hornby (TC1.16)
                 -   Galgate (TC1.17)
                 -   Bolton-le-Sands (TC1.18)
                 -   Silverdale (TC1.19)

2.34    The local centres proposed at Scotforth, Ridge and Skerton do not yet exist and represent the
        proposed creation of new local centres as part of strategic growth plans for South, North and
        East Lancaster. We provide further an assessment of the nature of these proposed centres
        below.

        Forthcoming Projects and Schemes
2.35    We set out below details of forthcoming project and schemes in the Lancaster local authority
        area which have the potential to encourage growth in the commercial retail and leisure sector
        in the District and particularly within the city centre.

        Lancaster Canal Corridor North Scheme
2.36    The Canal Corridor North Scheme is a key regeneration priority, as set out in the Core
        Strategy. The Canal Corridor North relates to an area of land between St Leonard’s Gate, Moor
        Lane and the Lancaster Canal. The Canal Corridor North site has a long history, with previous
        plans for the delivery of large scale retail-led regeneration scheme being delivered on the site.
        However, because of a range of factors including the refusal of an initial application in 2009
        (application ref. 09/00002/CALLIN - largely on built heritage grounds), the economic recession
        and changes to the retail environment, there has been slow progress in relation to the plans
        for the regeneration of the site. However, in January 2016, the Council made the decision to
        continue to work with developers British Land in relation to the development of the city centre
        site.

2.37    We are aware that plans are currently being developed with the aim of delivering an
        alternative scheme on the site. Given the current retail climate, it is anticipated that leisure
        uses including food and beverage uses will form a substantial element of the revised scheme.
        It is aimed that by providing an improved leisure offer within the city centre, additional visitors
        will be attracted to the centre because of the strong overall offer. Such leisure users,
        combined with the city’s retail offer, could assist in improving dwell times in the city, thus
        improving the overall vitality and viability. Whilst no scheme has yet been finalised or an
        amended application submitted, we understand that the revised scheme will seek a different
        scheme to that which has been previously progressed, seeking increased number of
        residential properties and complementary uses for university students.

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Morecambe Bay Retail Park (Former Frontierland)
2.38    Lancaster City Council has granted planning permission for the redevelopment of the former
        Frontierland site on Marine Road, Morecambe (Application: 14/00388/FUL). The proposal is
        predominantly for comparison goods retailing but also includes a significant proportion of food
        and beverage (the creation of 1,432sqm of A3 / A4 uses).

2.39    There remains an expectation that development on this site will commence through 2017 /
        2018 and, whilst the final operators for this floorspace are yet to be announced, it is expected
        that the development of this site will raise the standard of commercial leisure in Central
        Morecambe, both directly through the redevelopment of the Frontierland site but also the
        indirect impacts on commercial leisure premises on the promenade (most notably the cinema
        and bowling offer).

2.40    Opus Land North (the applicant) has subsequently applied in 2016 to vary conditions attached
        to the 2014 permission, to amend the approved plans and to widen the permitted use across
        the site (application ref. 16/00159/VCN). It is envisaged that the applicant is keen to attract a
        high quality retail and leisure offer and we understand discussions with specific operators are
        ongoing. However, work on Bay Retail Park (named by the applicant) has yet to commence,
        and it is unclear when precisely the development will be implemented.

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3.0 Local Centre Healthchecks

        Introduction
        WYG undertook a site visit to each of the 13 existing local centres as set out within the draft
        Policy TC1 within the emerging Strategic Policies & Land Allocations Development Plan
        Document (DPD). The site visits also involved a more general site search for other potential
        new local centres in areas which may be deficient of a defined centre or overall retail and
        service offer. A plan showing the existing distribution of the centres as designated by policy
        TC1 is shown in figure 3.1 below and the full plan is provided at Appendix 2.

        Figure 3.1: Existing Distribution of Defined Centres in Lancaster

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Draft Policy TC1 provides the proposed retail hierarchy for the Lancaster District, including the
        city centre, Morecambe town centre, Carnforth district centre and a range of urban local
        centres (in Morecambe, Lancaster and Heysham) and the rural local centres. The draft policy
        defines the local centres as:

        ▪     Urban local centres – these centres will maintain their roles in providing key services to
              the residents of Morecambe, Lancaster and Heysham; and
        ▪     Rural local centres – these centres will maintain their roles in providing key services to
              the rural communities within the district.

        The on-street review of the local centres ensured that up-to-date fascia and floorspace data of
        the units at ground floor level could be collected and analysed. Reviews of the city and district
        centres were undertaken by WYG on behalf of the Council separately in 2014.

        The baseline information enabled WYG to assess the composition of each centre, by
        categorising it against the Goad classification and class use (namely convenience, comparison,
        financial and business service, retail service and leisure service) system. A record was also
        taken of the vacant units in each centre. A full analysis of the centres is provided in Appendix
        4, including the diversity of use plans showing the split of uses in each of the centres.

        In addition to obtaining the diversity of use of the units within the centres, the site visits also
        enabled WYG to undertake a ‘mini’ qualitative health check assessment of each of the centres
        and parades, using several of the indicators outlined in the former Planning Policy Statement
        (PPS) 4: Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth (2009), now identified within the National
        Planning Practice Guidance (‘NPPG’).

        The NPPF does not provide a list of indicators to be used to assess the health of a centre,
        however the NPPG (Ensuring the vitality of town centres) sets out several key indicators which
        should be monitored on a regular basis to judge the health of a centre and its performance
        over time. Due to the limited size of most the centres/parades, it should be noted that several
        of the indicators could not be reviewed as there is no information available. The indicators
        considered for this assessment were as follows:

        ▪     diversity of uses;
        ▪     proportion of vacant street level property;
        ▪     commercial yields on non-domestic property;

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▪     customers’ views and behaviour;
        ▪     retailer representation and intentions to change representation;
        ▪     commercial rents;
        ▪     pedestrian flows;
        ▪     accessibility;
        ▪     perception of safety and occurrence of crime; and
        ▪     state of local centre environmental quality.

        The commentary below provides an overview of the analysis of the health of the local centres,
        drawing on the information gathered from the sites visits and supplemented by desk-based
        research.

        The commentary is based on the more detailed appraisal of the relevant available information
        for the 13 local centres, alongside a site plan, which is provided in Appendix 4. We have also
        included an assessment of the vitality and viability indicators of Halton, which as we discuss in
        more detail below, is a centre which the Council and WYG consider could suitably meet the
        policy requirements and provide the necessary facilities and amenities of a local centre.

        It is on the above basis that WYG has undertaken the review and provided our conclusions in
        respect of the ‘health’ and overall performance of each of the centres.

        Health Check Indicator – Diversity of Main Town Centre Uses
        Table 3.1 shows the total number of outlets and amount of floorspace within each of the 13
        established centres, with the data obtained from the WYG site visits undertaken in February
        2017. It is evident that Bare, Torrisholme, West End and Heysham Road are the key retail and
        service locations in the area, with higher numbers of units and floorspace than the other
        locations. West End is the largest local centre by some margin, with over double the number
        of units of Bare, the next largest local centre.

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Table 3.1: Summary of the Local Centres

                                                                                   Total Amount of Gross
         Centre                                 Total No. of Outlets
                                                                                     Floorspace (Sq.m)

         Bare                                             29                                  2,108
         Torrisholme                                      20                                  2,031
         Westgate                                         11                                  3,187
         West End                                         126                                12,439
         Bowerham                                         15                                 1,770
         Lancaster University                             13                                  3,327
         Heysham Road                                     19                                  2,425
         Heysham Village                                   5                                   326
         Caton                                             5                                   905
         Hornby                                            4                                   981
         Galgate                                           1                                   186
         Bolton-le-Sands                                  10                                   769
         Silverdale                                        8                                  861
         Total                                            264                                31,315

        Tables 3.2-3.6 provide the proportion of the number of outlets, as well as the proportion of
        floorspace (gross) based on the Goad sub-categories within each of the centres surveyed. This
        is presented as both the number and the percentages. The floorspace figures are derived from
        the master map base map provided by the Council and provide indicative gross figures for the
        size of each unit. It should however be noted that this is not reflective of the net sales area.

        Table 3.2: Diversity of Use by Units (No. Units)

                                                               Local Centre Provision (No. Units)
         Centre
                                No. Units   Convenience   Comparison       Service   Leisure      Financial    Vacant
         Bare                      29           5                12           5         5             2           0
         Torrisholme               20           2                 6           4         7             1           0
         Westgate                  11           4                 1           2         4             0           0
         West End                 126           14               32           12        20            2           46
         Bowerham                  15           3                 2           5         3             1           1
         Lancaster University      13           2                 2           4         3             2           0
         Heysham Road              19           4                 1           4         7             1           2
         Heysham Village            5           0                 1           1         3             0           0
         Caton                     5            1                 1           2         1             0           0
         Hornby                    4            1                 0           1         2             0           0
         Galgate                   1            1                 0           0         0             0           0
         Bolton-le-Sands           8            2                 2           2         2             0           0
         Silverdale                8            2                 1           2         2             1           0

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Table 3.3 Diversity of Use by Units (Percentage)

                                                                         Local Centre Provision (%)
         Centre
                                   No. Units    Convenience      Comparison      Service   Leisure      Financial    Vacant
         Bare                         29           17.2%           41.4%         17.2%      17.2%         6.9%        0.0%
         Torrisholme                  20           10.0%           30.0%         20.0%      35.0%         5.0%        0.0%
         Westgate                     11           36.4%            9.1%         18.2%      36.4%         0.0%        0.0%
         West End                     126          11.1%           25.4%          9.5%      15.9%         1.6%        36.5%
         Bowerham                     15           20.0%           13.3%         33.3%      20.0%         6.7%        6.7%
         Lancaster University         13           15.4%           15.4%         30.8%      23.1%        15.4%        0.0%
         Heysham Road                 19           21.1%            5.3%         21.1%      36.8%         5.3%        10.5%
         Heysham Village                 5         0.0%            20.0%         20.0%      60.0%         0.0%        0.0%
         Caton                           5         20.0%           20.0%         40.0%      20.0%         0.0%        0.0%
         Hornby                          4         25.0%            0.0%         25.0%      50.0%         0.0%        0.0%
         Galgate                         1        100.0%            0.0%          0.0%      0.0%          0.0%        0.0%
         Bolton-le-Sands                 8         25.0%           25.0%         25.0%      25.0%         0.0%        0.0%
         Silverdale                      8         25.0%           12.5%         25.0%      25.0%        12.5%        0.0%
                 Lancaster Average                25.1%            16.7%         21.9%     28.0%         4.1%         4.1%
                   National Average                8.7%            31.6%         14.2%     23.6%        10.5%        11.2%

        Table 3.4: Diversity of Use by Floorspace (Amount sq.m)
                                                                Local Centre Provision (amount of sq.m)
         Centre                 Floorspace     Convenienc      Compariso
                                  (Sq.m)                                       Service     Leisure     Financial      Vacant
                                                   e               n
         Bare                     2,108           312             754            288        628           126            0
         Torrisholme              2,031           588             460            245        638           100            0
         Westgate                 3,187          2,372            74             139        602            0             0
         West End                12,439          1,297           2,670           692        2,917         106          4,757
         Bowerham                 1,770           379             218            367        508           110           188
         Lancaster
                                  3,327           690             290            954        921           472            0
         University
         Heysham Road             2,425           682             84             330        944            79           306
         Heysham Village           326             0              88             45         193            0             0
         Caton                     905            282             36             128        459            0             0
         Hornby                    981             95              0             84         802            0             0
         Galgate                   186            186              0              0          0             0             0
         Bolton-le-Sands           769            194             164            108        303            0             0
         Silverdale                861            243             52             157        318            91            0

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Table 3.5: Diversity of Use by Floorspace (Percentage)
                                                                 Local Centre Provision (%)
         Centre                 Floorspace
                                  (Sq.m)     Convenience     Comparison   Service   Leisure     Financial    Vacant
         Bare                      2,108       14.8%           35.8%      13.7%     29.8%         6.0%         0.0%
         Torrisholme              2,031        29.0%           22.6%      12.1%     31.4%         4.9%         0.0%
         Westgate                 3,187        74.4%            2.3%       4.4%     18.9%         0.0%         0.0%
         West End                 12,439       10.4%           21.5%       5.6%     23.5%         0.9%        38.2%
         Bowerham                 1,770        21.4%           12.3%      20.7%     28.7%         6.2%        10.6%
         Lancaster University     3,327        20.7%            8.7%      28.7%     27.7%         14.2%        0.0%
         Heysham Road             2,425         28.1            3.5        13.6      38.9         3.3%        12.6%
         Heysham Village              326       0.0%           27.0%      13.8%     59.2%         0.0%         0.0%
         Caton                        905      31.2%            4.0%      14.1%     50.7%         0.0%         0.0%
         Hornby                       981       9.7%            0.0%       8.6%     81.8%         0.0%         0.0%
         Galgate                      186      100.0%           0.0%       0.0%      0.0%         0.0%         0.0%
         Bolton-le-Sands              769      25.2%           21.3%      14.0%     39.4%         0.0%         0.0%
         Silverdale                   861      28.2%            6.0%      18.2%     36.9%         10.6%        0.0%
                   Lancaster Average           29.1%           12.7%      13.1%     36.5%         3.6%        4.9%
                   National Average            15.2%           35.5%      6.8%      24.7%         7.9%        9.3%

        West End contains the highest number of convenience units (14), although these units are all
        small format (less than 100 sq.m gross) and only account for 11.1% of the total floorspace,
        significantly lower than the national average of 15.2%.

        The largest convenience goods unit across the local centres is Lidl, located in the Westgate
        local centre, comprising a floorspace of 1,549 sq.m (gross). Given the low proportion of units
        present in many of the centres, the number of convenience goods outlets is greater than the
        national average for all the centres, excluding Heysham Village which does not accommodate
        a convenience goods offer. The average convenience goods offer for Lancaster District is
        25.1% for the number of units and 29.1% for the provision of floorspace, on both accounts
        greater than the respective national averages of 8.7% and 15.2%.

        The provision of comparison goods units is consistently low across the local centres, excluding
        Bare where the provision exceeds the national average figures in terms of both the number of
        comparison goods units and proportion of floorspace. Whilst the other centres are
        underrepresented, for local centres, a strong comparison goods offer is not required to
        achieve their required function of meeting the basic day to day needs of residents. There are
        two national multiple comparison goods retailers across the thirteen centres which are WH
        Smiths located at Lancaster University and Boots the Chemist in Caton.

        Unsurprisingly, given their role and local function, there are a good proportion of retail service
        units in the centres in comparison to the national average, with Bowerham accommodating a

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high level of retail service operators. Torrisholme, Westgate and Heysham Village all have a
        good provision of leisure service units in comparison to the national average, whilst Bare and
        West End have a shortfall of this type of use. The financial and business services sector is
        poorly represented, with several of the centres not accommodating any of this type of use,
        with limited provision present elsewhere.

        It is worth noting that the rural local centres (Caton, Horby, Galgate, Bolton-le-Sands and
        Silverdale) all accommodate less than ten units and therefore limited weight should be
        attributed to the national average comparisons at these locations. The facilities at these
        locations serve significantly smaller catchments than the urban local centres but nevertheless
        play a key role in serving the day to day needs of residents of the rural communities within
        the district.

        Health Check Indicator – Vacant Street-Level Property
        The proportion of vacant street-level property identified across the local centres was found on
        the most part to be low, with ten of the thirteen existing centres having no vacant outlets.
        Consequently, the average vacancy levels for the local centres in Lancaster District are
        significantly lower than the national averages in terms of both the number of vacant units and
        the proportion of floorspace as outlined in table 3.6.

        Table 3.6: Vacant Units
                                                                              Total Amount of
                                             Total No. of                         Vacant                 % of
         Centre                                               % of Outlets
                                            Vacant Outlets                      Floorspace            Floorspace
                                                                                  (Sq.m)
         Bare                                       0            0.0%                0                    0.0%
         Torrisholme                                0            0.0%                0                    0.0%
         Westgate                                   0            0.0%                0                    0.0%
         West End                                 46             36.5%             4,757                 38.2%
         Bowerham                                   1            6.7%               188                  10.6%
         Lancaster University                       0            0.0%                0                    0.0%
         Heysham Road                               2            10.5%              306                  12.6%
         Heysham Village                            0            0.0%                0                    0.0%
         Caton                                      0            0.0%                0                    0.0%
         Hornby                                     0            0.0%                0                    0.0%
         Galgate                                    0            0.0%                0                    0.0%
         Bolton-le-Sands                            0            0.0%                0                    0.0%
         Silverdale                                 0            0.0%                0                    0.0%
         Lancaster Local Centre Average           4              4.1%               404                  4.9%
         UK Average*                                -            11.2%               -                   9.3%

        West End local centre, which comprises a significantly greater proportion of retail and service
        outlets than any of the other local centres in Lancaster District has a substantial level of

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vacancies. Within West End, 46 of 126 of the surveyed units were found to be vacant. The
        area, which has been subject to long term vacancy issues is identified as a priority area for
        regeneration and has the effect of skewing the averages somewhat. The statistics in relation
        to vacancies show that, excluding West End, the proposed Local Centres are generally viable
        and subject to low vacancy levels and as such, are trading relatively well.

        Average Centre Composition
        Following the health check appraisals, we have compiled the average number of units and
        average proportion of floorspace in each of the surveyed centres to provide the average local
        centre composition within the district. We have calculated the averages for the urban and rural
        local centres separately as it has been established that the urban local centres serve for
        significantly greater catchments than the rural local centres and consequently are generally
        greater in scale in terms of the number of units and the proportion of floorspace. Table 3.7
        shows the average composition of the urban and rural local centres in the district. Whilst
        reviewing the averages across the centres is a useful tool for establishing the composition of
        centres across the district, the figures should be viewed with some caution due to the
        qualitative different nature of each of the centres, as we set out in some detail above and
        below. There may be some centres which skew the figures considerably due to a larger than
        average convenience store for example, or a higher than average vacancy rate due to other
        social and economic matters.

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Table 3.7: Average Centre Composition
                                     Average Centre Composition (Urban Local Centres)
                                                  No. Units             %           Floorspace               %
         Convenience                                  4               14.3%             186                26.2%
         Comparison                                   7               23.9%             81                 11.5%
         Retail Service                               5               15.5%             83                 11.7%
         Leisure Service                              7               21.8%             141                19.9%
         Financial and Business Service               1                3.8%             110                15.6%
         Vacant                                       6               20.6%             107                15.1%
         Total                                       30               100%             709                 100%
                                      Average Centre Composition (Rural Local Centres)
                                                  No. Units             %           Floorspace               %
         Convenience                                  1               26.9%             143                22.5%
         Comparison                                   1               15.4%             63                  9.9%
         Retail Service                               1               26.9%             68                 10.8%
         Leisure Service                              1               26.9%             269                42.4%
         Financial and Business Service               0                3.8%             91                 14.4%
         Vacant                                       0                0.0%              0                  0.0%
         Total                                       5                100%             634                 100%

        Table 3.7 shows that there is a significant difference in composition between the urban and
        rural local centres, the average urban local centre accommodating 30 units, whilst rural local
        centres accommodate 5 units. This is no surprise given the larger catchments supported by
        the urban local centres. However, as the Council acknowledges in defining the centres, whilst
        the rural local centres are substantially smaller and have fewer units than the urban centres,
        they still serve an important role and function and therefore, the designation within the local
        plan is important.

        Table 3.8: Average Catchment Composition
                                                                Average Catchment Population
                 Centre Category           5 Minute Walk Time Isochrone          10 Minute Walk Time Isochrone

              Urban Local Centres                     1,765                                    5,220

              Rural Local Centres                         986                                  2,195

        Table 3.8 shows that the urban catchments on average support significantly greater
        populations within the five and ten-minute walk time catchments respectively. This
        corresponds with the average centre composition in that the urban local centres have a
        greater proportion of retail services to support the larger catchments. A full analysis of the
        walk time catchments is included within Section 6 of this report. These averages have also
        assisted in reviewing the required composition of new local centres at Section 5 of this report.

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The findings are generally consistent with what we would expect for local centres. It should
        however be noted that, when omitting the West End local centre, which is subject to
        significant vacancy levels from the average calculation, the average number of vacant units in
        the urban local centres is zero, demonstrating the strong performance of the defined local
        centres.

        Socio-Demographics
        As part of our wider analysis of existing local centres and the scale and nature of the provision
        within these, we have also carried out an analysis of social demographic data based the 10-
        minute walk time catchments generated from each local centre point to assess the economic
        make-up of the immediate population of each centre. This can then be fed back into our
        analysis of the health and uses of the existing centres, to establish the nature and overall offer
        in comparison to the socio demographics of the surrounding population.

        We identified several key indicators to inform the analysis and establish if the resident’s data
        corresponds with the findings of the health check assessments. Data was generated using
        Experian MMG3 software and based on Population Estimates for UK – 2015 Experian mid-year
        estimates (November 2016). We reviewed the following factors available within the data set:

        ▪     Car Ownership;
        ▪     Economically Active (Rate of Employment);
        ▪     Economically Inactive; and
        ▪     Health.

        To interpret the results, our findings for each 10-minute walk time catchment have been
        averaged and compared against the statistics for the Lancaster District and UK wide. The
        tables outlining our findings can be found at Appendix 7.

        Car Ownership
        In terms of car ownership, an average of 47.3% of households within the combined
        catchments own 1 car or van. This is slightly greater than the overall Lancaster District figure
        of 45.6% and national figure of 42.2%. An average of 22.5% of households within the
        combined catchments do not own at least one car or van. This statistic is lower than the
        Lancaster District average of 24.5% and national average of 26.1%. These figures indicate
        that households within the local centre catchments have greater access to at least one car or
        van that the Lancaster District as well as nationally. This finding is consistent with what we

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would expect for catchments served by local centres (or similar designations). Given the
        limited services provided at local centres, it is often necessary for residents to travel elsewhere
        to access some retail and service needs, particularly comparison goods retail.

        When reviewing the findings from individual catchments, most notably we identified that car
        or van ownership within the five rural local centres is significantly greater than in the urban
        local centres, the centres representing the five lowest percentages for households with no cars
        or vans, the lowest being Hornby at 9.5%. This can be attributed to Hornby being the most
        remote of the five rural local centres, located approximately 15 kilometres from Lancaster city
        centre. It would be unusual if households within this catchment did not have an increased
        access to private vehicles due to the necessity to travel and the limited levels of public
        transport provision (typically concentrated on public bus services). There is also a higher
        proportion of households within the rural local centres that own 2 or more cars or vans. Again,
        this is to be expected given the limited access to services and employment within these
        catchments. The findings also emphasise the importance of the rural local centres in serving
        the needs of the small number of households that do not have access to a car or van.

        In terms of the urban local centre catchments, at 42.9%, West End has a significantly greater
        proportion of households that do not have access to a car or van than the other centres.
        When cross referencing this statistic against the economic status of residents within the West
        End catchment, which has a population of 3,089 (the highest of all the local centre
        catchments), we have found the residents in and immediately surrounding West End (i.e. the
        ten minute walktime) have the highest unemployment rate amongst economically active
        residents, as well as the highest proportion of economically inactive residents. The lower
        proportion of car or van ownership within this catchment could be directly attributed to the
        above. Notwithstanding this, West End is well-connected and near Morecambe town centre,
        benefitting from good public transport links. Equally this could also be a factor attributing to
        the lower levels of car or van ownership within the catchment as well as the economic status
        of the residents.

        It should be noted that the Experian population data does not account for student
        accommodation within the household projections. It has therefore not been possible to
        undertake a car ownership analysis for the Lancaster University catchment.

        Economically Active Residents
3.03    Economically active residents are categorised by the following sub-categories:

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▪ Employee Part Time;
        ▪ Employee Full Time;
        ▪ Self Employed (With Employees) Part Time;
        ▪ Self Employed (With Employees) Full Time;
        ▪ Self Employed (Without Employees) Part Time;
        ▪ Self Employed (Without Employees) Full Time;
        ▪ Unemployed; and
        ▪ Student.

        We found the combined local centre catchments to have an average unemployment rate of
        3.2% for economically active residents. This is marginally lower than the overall Lancaster
        District average of 3.3% and lower than the national average of 4.4%, indicating that, on the
        most part unemployment is not a significant issue within the local centre catchments. The
        lowest levels of unemployment are present within the rural local centre catchments, in
        particularly within the Bolton-le-Sands and Silverdale catchments which have unemployment
        levels of 1.4% and 1.6% respectively, typically demonstrating the more affluent areas. Our
        health check assessments found Bolton-le-Sands and Silverdale to be relatively prosperous
        local centres and this statistic identifies a relationship between vitality and low unemployment
        within the district.

        The highest levels of unemployment are present in Westgate (4.4%) and West End (7.3%).
        The figure for West End is considerably higher than the national average. Again, this supports
        the above findings linking the health of a centre to employment levels as our health check
        assessment found West End to be in poor health and subject to considerable vacancies.

        Many economically active residents within all catchments excluding Lancaster University,
        Galgate and Silverdale, are in full time employment as an employee. Given that the university
        campus provides significant on-site accommodation, it is no surprise that over 80.0% of the
        Lancaster University catchment is accounted for by students. In terms of Silverdale, the
        slightly lower levels of residents in full time employment as employees can be attributed to
        relatively high levels of self-employed residents (without employees) working both full time
        and part time. Galgate is subject to a relatively high student population which accounts for
        over 20.0% of the catchment, which can be attributed to its location approximately 1
        kilometre south of the Bailrigg Garden Village university campus.

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Economically Inactive Residents
        Economically inactive residents are categorised by the following sub-categories:

        ▪     Retired;
        ▪     Student (Including Full Time Students);
        ▪     Looking After Home or Family;
        ▪     Long Term Sick or Disabled; and
        ▪     Other.

        We found most economic inactivity within the local centre catchments to be directly related to
        the proportions of residents in retirement and or those that are students. Firstly, Bowerham
        and Galgate local centres are both located near the University campus and the statistics reflect
        this with the student population of economically inactive residents accounting for 56.5% and
        73.9% respectively. The catchment for the Lancaster University local centre also has a 98.0%
        student population.

        The second sub-factor contributing predominately to economic inactivity within the local
        centre catchments is retirement, accounting for many economically inactive residents. The
        Silverdale catchment has the highest proportion of retirees (77.5%), with the Bare, Hornby
        and Bolton-le-Sands catchments also accommodating levels of retirees more than 70.0%
        (74.6%, 72.7% and 71.5% respectively). These findings show clearly that the rural
        settlements have the greatest proportion of retirees in the district. In West End retirement
        accounts for only 32.5% of the economically inactive population. This can be attributed to
        high numbers of economically inactive residents either looking after home or family (14.9%)
        or being long term sick or disabled (28.8%). The proportion of long term sick or disabled
        residents in West End is significantly greater than the Lancaster District average of 12.0% and
        national average of 14.5% respectively. This shows that the West End catchment is subject to
        unproportionate levels of residents suffering from long term sickness or disability. This
        supports the findings of the previous sections that there is a link between the health of
        centres in a retail context and negative population sub-category statistics, and the general lack
        of expenditure available to support ‘healthy’ local centres.

        Health
        The health statistics are assessed against five sub categories which comprise; very good,
        good, fair, bad and very bad.

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We have found that within the local centre catchments, the highest proportion of residents are
        consistently categorised as having ‘very good health’. There are no instances where a
        catchment is subject to a majority of residents within the ‘very good’ sub-category.
        Furthermore, the average figure of 46.4% of residents within the local centre catchments
        categorised as having ‘very good’ health is lower, albeit marginally than the Lancaster District
        average of 46.8% and national average of 47.6%. Notwithstanding this, the ‘very good’ and
        ‘good’ sub-categories combined account for the majority of residents consistently across all of
        the local centre catchments.

        When combining the proportions of residents categorised as having ‘bad’ and ‘very bad’
        health, the Westgate and West End catchments are subject to the highest combined
        proportions of residents with poor health. This corresponds with findings of the economically
        inactive analysis, where these areas were found to have the highest proportion of residents
        suffering from long term sickness or disability.

        Conclusion
        Overall, we have found that many of the 10-minute walk time catchments associated with the
        proposed local centres are subject to a social demographic make-up that is broadly consistent
        to national averages. The relatively high student population within the district does, to some
        extent, generate inconsistencies when assessing against the national averages. However, this
        is by no means an issue and represents local circumstances, the student population playing a
        key role in supporting the local economy, in particularly for the Bowerham, Galgate and
        Lancaster University local centres.

        We found that West End was a consistent anomaly, in that it returned negative statistics
        across all four of the factors assessed. The West End catchment is subject to the lowest
        proportion of car and van owners, the highest unemployment rate, the highest proportion of
        long term sick or disabled residents and the second highest proportion of residents with poor
        health. It is clear, given the findings of our health check assessment that there is a direct
        correlation between the health of a designated centre in a retail context and its social
        demographic make-up, which in the case of West End has found to be poor on both counts.

        As set out above, West End currently suffers from considerable vacancy levels and is not
        considered to be performing its proposed role as a local centre. The 10-minute walk time
        catchment for West End comprises a population of 6,257, which represents the highest
        proportion of residents located within a local centre catchment. This worsens the findings of

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